duchess_diariesMy husband and I were married on Valentine’s Day over twenty-five years ago in the middle of a tumbleweed storm. During our marriage we’ve celebrated our anniversary in a number of romantic and not-so-romantic ways.  We’ve toasted our togetherness in the traditional manner at a beach-side restaurant in Malibu, at a charming Santa Barbara inn, and in a hotel in Beverly Hills that featured gourmet dining for your pampered pets—no, we didn’t bring the dogs. If nothing else you can usually count on the California sunset and a coastal drive to provide a perfect backdrop for a celebration.

The freeway is another story—the truth is that my husband and I have celebrated a few awkward dates over the years.  We set out one night for a dinner together only to be thwarted by an emergency phone-call from Grandma.  Our daughter had croup. We hit Wal-Mart for cough syrup and the rest of the evening—well, it’s a blur. We passed another less-than glamorous anniversary at a quaint German restaurant that we’d decided to try at the last minute. Our gourmet meal included frozen fish sticks with peas and carrots.  A ventriloquist plunked his dummy down on our table and entertained us with a repertoire of terrible jokes. We laughed about it for months.

Once we drove to a murder-mystery dinner theater in Palm Springs. It was like playing Clue.  It would have been a great memory except we got lost on the way home, and my husband locked the car keys in the trunk. There’s nothing like a walk along a dark desert road in evening clothes looking for a locksmith to cap off a romantic evening. We dined at Chasen’s in West Hollywood and my husband neglected to wear a tie so the house provided one. I know we’ve spent at least two Valentine’s Day anniversaries at Barnes and Noble, sipping coffee and browsing books.

This year we’re staying home again by choice. We’ll dine on homemade spaghetti in the courtyard by candlelight with the fountain splashing and Dean Martin serenading in the backyard.  We’ll eat spumoni and then—we won’t linger like lovers should.  My husband has a software project due, and I’m blogging about my latest Penguin romance The Duchess Diaries on the Book Binge.

I think it’s fair to say that we’re versatile Valentines.  We’re still passionate about each other but practical.  And on that note I wish you all good hearts today whether you’re celebrating by yourself with chocolate or are out on the town.